A recent article in the November Arthritis and Rheumatism journal studied cherry intake and reduction in gout and found that cherries do, in fact, reduce the risk for gout attacks.

The study included 633 individuals with gout. Cherry intake over a 2-day period was associated with a 35% lower risk of gout attacks compared with no intake. Cherry extract intake showed similar results. When cherry intake was combined with allopurinol (a uric acid lowering drug) use, the risk of gout attacks was 75% lower than during periods without either exposure.

My take on this is that cherries are yummy and safe to consume, so why not give it a try if you suffer from gout. That said, other preventative measure should be taken such as eliminating caffeine, alcohol, and purine-rich meats such as organ meat, sardines, and anchovies.  Drink plenty of water and keep your weight in a healthy range.

There is a genetic component to gout, and sometimes stronger medications are indicated to either relieve the pain and inflammation from an acute gout attack or to lower uric acid levels. Talk to your doctor to ensure that you are not on any medications or supplements that may contribute to gout attacks and to find out what type of treatment may be right for you.

-Jenny Ward, MD